I love surprises. Especially ones that change my perspective.
Sometimes I’m turned upside down from what I thought before. This happened to me at the beginning of March this year.
We attended the Masters Thesis concert of a friend, but there were two productions, back to back.
Valerie Durham’s Masters of Fine Art Thesis
March 8-9, 2012
Two Master thesis presentations in one evening. The second was an unexpected surprise. I was delighted to see a whole company of Isadora Duncan styled dancers, right in front of me, on the small, personal stage at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. When I went into the theater, I had expected to see our family friend’s performance and figured I’d be tapping my fingers and politely clapping through the other one. In a amazing about face, I was swept away by Valerie Durham’s production, for many reasons and my attention was riveted to every note and movement.
Valerie Durham’s company, The Duncan Dancers,
performs dances in the style of Isadora Duncan.
Valerie Durham is a fourth generation Duncan Dancer. Her company, Duncan Dancers, has a web site that teaches about the techniques, choreography and style of their mentor, Isadora Duncan:
“Since discovering Duncan Dance in 1992, Valerie has focused on building, preserving and learning more about Isadora’s gorgeous, timeless and inspired technique of dance and repertory of dances. Valerie firmly believes that Duncan Dance is a vital aspect to the dance of today and that all dancers can benefit from its unique focus on musicality, artistry, personal expression and openness. She is working to innovate the Duncan technique for the 21st Century with contemporary music selection, expanded and developed movements and challenging choreography.”
Companies of Anna And Irma Duncan
Isadora Duncan considered the body the temple of the
soul. She encouraged the harmonious integration of the
mind, body, spirit and emotions through dance.
Isadora Duncan believed her audiences should concentrate on dance movements, rather than complex stage settings and costumes. Duncan stage settings were minimal and costumes were free flowing to emphasize the body and movement. The movement, likewise, appeared free flowing. Although there is a disciplined technique underneath, the dance was meant to appear free and spontaneous. A large collection of web links, along with a biography, may be found here.
Duncan style dancers explain that in ballet, there is a great awareness of technique. With Duncan technique, if done correctly, there will appear to be no technqiue.
As the Center for the Preservation of Modern Dance reveals: “Duncan dance is free-flowing and appears spontaneous; has a sense of energy and grace that radiates from the solar plexus; reflects the rhythms of nature; is danced to the great classical music; and is state of mind as much as a style of movement.”
Isadora Duncan 1877 – 1927
The divine feminine was exemplified by Isadora Duncan’s style of dance. The manifestation of a powerful feminine spirit was heightened by feminine garments and an emphasis on the passion of nature and nurturing. The sacred reverence for the female body in all of her archetypes was represented and blessed. The Isadora Duncan International Institute, Inc. in New York, NY, has tours to Europe to study our female archetypal heritage in all of its manifestations and forms. For a brochure of last year’s trip in 2011, click here. For a listing of learning events, click here.
There are many women’s groups studying and participating in this revival of feminine power. By recognizing the maternal world that existed before the power structure of male strength was imposed upon it, beauty and peace are revered. Expression of the female spirit through dance has led to this emphasis on the divine female.
It is important in a world that is more technologically
structured to affirm and actively respect
women and their naturally feminine shapes.
Next in this series: Introducing Zoe Artemis